Let’s continue on with our Weekend of Discovery. While looking through the images from Alden Jewell’s Flickr Photostream, I noticed several prewar images with a very strange looking micro-car. The name of the vehicle was prominent on the side of the hood – Rytecraft Scootacar – a make I have never heard of. Well, here is a brief history of the car…
The Rytecraft Scootacar was built in London by the British Motorboat Manufacturing Company between 1934 and 1940. The company later changed its name to BMB Engineering, and apparently there were a few built after 1945 once the war ended.
This is a very small car, and originated as a fairground Dodgem type car that was electrically powered. That all changed when the designer, Jack Shillan, installed a 98 cc Villiers Midget single-cylinder engine and sold it for road use in 1934. The transmission used was single speed and operated by a single pedal which opened the throttle when pressed down and applied the brake when released. The clutch was automatic, and the car was very crude with no suspension whatsoever. Drive was to one of the rear wheels and the single brake ooperated on the other. It was said to be capable of reaching 15 mph, and the body was open and had a single seat.
The later cars from about 1939 had a larger 250 cc engine, a three speed gearbox and normal pedal controls. Top speed was 40 mph. Two seats were now fitted along with electric lights. A commercial version, the Scootatruck was also made and for publicity some were styled to look like Vauxhall and Chrysler models. All in all, there was only around 1,000 units produced. Several survive and one is on display at the Brooklands museum.
Image Credits: Alden Jewell’s Flickr Photostream